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NZ: Schools can sell junk food again

The National Government is removing the requirement for schools to sell only healthy food and beverages in school tuckshops.   Parents and health groups are very unhappy about this.

Education Minister Anne Tolley announced the policy change on 5 February, saying among other things:

As part of the National Government’s commitment to reducing compliance for schools, I have decided to remove the clause in National Administration Guideline (5) which states ‘where food and beverages are sold on schools’ premises, to make only healthy options available’.

It should be noted that clause (ii) in the National Administration Guideline (5) that requires schools to promote healthy food and drink to students remains in place.

Health groups including FOE  immediately attacked this policy change, calling it baffling, peculiar and incredible.  The Green and Labour parties also oppose it.

A major concern for FOE is the mixed messages children will be getting. While schools still have to promote healthy food,  they won’t have to provide it in their tuckshops. As we said in our submission to the 2006 Obesity Inquiry:

A key part of changing children’s and parents’ attitudes about unhealthy foods is the complete disassociation of these foods from schools. This means that unhealthy foods should not sold in schools or promoted in any way in or by schools.

The Obesity Action Coalition agrees:

By enabling schools to once more sell foods like pies and chips at the canteen, we are sending our kids the message that it’s OK to eat this sort of food every day.

Read more about changes to the healthy school food policy: NZ Herald, 6 Feb 2009

Published on February 16, 2009 in New Zealand news